We all have that one programme we tune into every week, that one show that is clearly appalling yet too addictive to forget about. For me, over the past couple of years I have been strangely drawn like an ashamed magnet to E4’s production Made in Chelsea.
The format of the show is simple. To put it bluntly, it is a scripted reality television series which follows an incestuous herd of twenty-something year old bellends who scrounge off their parent’s vast riches in south-west London. Made in Chelsea (or MIC, as it is abbreviated) was first aired in September 2011 and is currently on its fourth series.
The location for this enthralling programme is mentioned in the title. Despite this, viewers are constantly reminded of the show’s whereabouts. In between every single scene you are bombarded with signposts reading ‘Chelsea embankment’ and ‘Chelsea flower centre’, usually with Indie-Pop bands like the M83 or Foster the People blaring out over it.
Aside from these miniscule flaws there is something intriguing about MIC which compels me to watch it on a weekly basis. ‘It could be the rich character development,’ I hear you ask? Nope, not that either I’m afraid.
There are a several irritating examples. Take Millie Mackintos: she is a gorgeous model and make-up artist, but she possesses what can only be described as the emotional capacity of a newt. Meanwhile, Rosie resembles an overgrown bird and is such an ice-queen – a glance from her shark-like eyes could make hell itself freeze over.
It would be difficult to say that many of the women in Made in Chelsea are bright in any way shape or form. Binky or Binkle-Tits (as she’s sometimes known) despite being incredibly attractive, is incredibly dense. This is perfectly summed up with this astonishing quote: ‘Fish give birth through their mouths, don’t they?’ Binky was also fully convinced that Winnie the Pooh was written by Charles Dickens.
The male counter parts of MIC are not much better. Mark-Francis for example is the exact kind of pretentious knob who should make me turn away from the show. My favourite quote of his being ‘I love taxi drivers. They’re my favourite breed of people’.
Some characters have also become increasingly annoying the longer the programme has progressed. This includes the over-protective alpha male of the pack Spencer Matthews and his little blond-haired buddy Jamie, who bounds around like an over-excitable peroxide Jack Russell.
Francis Boulle is arguably the only genuine individual on the programme. The entrepreneur is constantly taking part in random activities. These vary from fencing, skate-boarding and rowing to casual bouts of pheasant shooting. Boulle rarely has any success with the female residents of Chelsea and is probably the most entertaining character.
Essentially the characters swan around West London drinking cocktails, buying expensive items, relieving their stress at high-end spas and walking their rodent-sized ‘dogs’. The gang even have time in their hectic schedules to jet off to exotic locations such as Cannes or Dubai and cheat on their best buddies.
So what is it about Made in Chelsea that entices me week in, week out? Firstly, I think it provides us with a compelling insight into how people like the ones in MIC live. It’s like watching a David Attenborough documentary on a rare breed of wealthy, arrogant, shiny-haired animals.
In addition, I think it is the fascination of how far removed it is from life in Cork. ‘Made in Carrigaline’ has a ring to it, but following a group of friends drinking Dutch Gold outside a community centre in the pissing rain somehow doesn’t quite have the same appeal… Or does it? If RTÉ are on the lookout for fresh ideas, they know where to contact me.